“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”

Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution

The Stillness of an Autumn Afternoon

An autumn quiet has fallen upon the farm.
Afternoons are almost completely silent now...
 just the faint chirping of a few crickets are all that I hear as I make my way 
on afternoon rounds.

Hubbs was gone the past two days... visiting his parents up North...
making the farm even quieter.

In case you haven't noticed, I am a big fan of Autumn.
Next to Hubbs, he's my favorite.

(Spring and Summer are definitely "she's"... And winter is a "he"?
After all, no one has ever referred to it as Ole Woman Winter, right?
So, doesn't that mean that Winter's younger sibling is a "he" as well?)

While up north, Hubbs visited a fish hatchery and brought home
several thousand minnows.
They will serve as food for the bigger fish over the coming months.
Sad... yes, I know.

There is a process for acclimating new fish to the pond.
It involves sitting the bags of fish in the pond to help bring the water temperature down
to that of the pond.
Then pond water is slowly introduced into the bag... once... twice...
and after sitting for a spell in this mixture, they are eventually dumped into the pond.

As we emptied the fish into the pond,
there seemed to be an awful lot of them belly-up...
which worried us.
Happily, within a...

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Makin' a List, Checkin' it Twice

I am starting to compile my "naughty" and "nice" list.
December is right around the corner, you know.
Yes, dear friends, in case you haven't thought about it... Christmas is only a little over 
two months away!!
Reality check.
I was sure it was just summer.

I am happy to say that my "nice" list far outweighs the "naughty" list at this time.

The farrier came yesterday for hoof trimming and I am happy to report
that almost all of my equines were quite well behaved.

Yes, even the donkey girls decided to BOTH cooperate...
almost unheard of... them both cooperating at the same time on any given day!

Hooves grew like crazy in the past two months.

The only ones who get excited about long hooves are the dogs...
longer hooves mean bigger treats!

I can think of nothing less appetizing than gnawing on stinky horse hooves!
But then, dogs love horse manure...
so I guess their discriminating taste and mine are quite different.

As for the "naughty" list... the head of that list is Ollie, of course.
This little stinker decided he would try to nibble on the farrier,
and then when that was unsuccessful, he tried to kick him...
also unsuccessfully.
Truth be told, he only "half" tried.
(I think someone may have had a...

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We Can

There are barely any weeks that pass that do not leave me with a heavy heart...
grieving for humanity.
I am sure that you are feeling the same way.
All one need do is turn on the news and it seems that the world has turned upside down.
It's hard to not get discouraged.

And yet I refuse to give up.
I refuse to believe that we are not capable of creating a better world.

I don't often address current events on this blog...
not because I don't care... I do, deeply.

It's just that with so much despair and heartache swirling around us...
I choose to be a voice of positivity.
I choose to believe that we are capable of greatness.
I choose to believe that there is hope for humanity.
I choose to believe that we are capable of this...

of tolerating and caring and loving each other and our differences.

I choose to offer a smile and a kind word.
I choose to keep love and hope and peace my guiding force.

The world is large, and I am but one small person.
I refuse to believe that I cannot make a difference.
I can.
You can.
Everyone can... in thought, word, and deed.

In the face of all that is wrong and crazy...
let us stand together for all that is right and good.
Let us hang on to hope.
Together... we can.

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This weekend was the kind of weekend that makes us all happy!
It was cool and sunny... and even more important ... bug-less!!

The horses were happy after all these months to finally go without their fly masks.

The donkeys were thrilled...
and to think we just got Chloe to wear one about two weeks ago.

Nighttime temps dipped down into the 30's this weekend
and we awoke to frost on Sunday morning.

The heat lamp was turned on in the pig house so the girls could snuggle warmly into their
bed of hay for the night.

Cooler weather gives me the urge to nest and to cook.

I picked the last of the apples in the orchard and made apple dumplings.

I also used some of the apples to make individual servings 
of apple/walnut/cinnamon baked oatmeal... made in a muffin pan.

Feeling like autumn had finally arrived,
I got out the autumn decor.

Here is how the dining room table is supposed to look...

Here is how it actually looks...

If you have a cat, then you know that whatever it is you are doing...
they need to be helping.

"So you folds the tablecloff like zis?  I is a big help!!"
Yes, Ivy... you are most certainly a help!

Last week I showed you the skunk trap that Hubbs had ordered.
We woke up Saturday morning...

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The Piggy/Sheepie Shuffle

It's evening tuck-in time...
time to do the piggy-sheep shuffle.

Everyone is in from the pasture and ready for bed.
Of course with my presence they are all focussed on only one thing...

Ritz crackers are the magic potion needed to get these girls to do anything I need them to do.

They all follow me into the sheep pen and I hand out treats.

Then I quickly run to the pig pen and the pigs follow on my heels...
highly motivated by snacks.
The sheep are much slower and have no idea what just happened.

Once the pigs are in their own yard, I quick close the fence between the yards and place myself
on the sheep side.

The pigs get treats through the fence.

And the sheep get a few more crackers as well.

I am happy to say that these two have made the adjustment to life without Mama.
In fact, without the protection of Gracie...
these two have begun to trust me more than they used to.

Isn't it amazing the color that Faith turns in the sun.
I think she may have used a little "Sun-In" this summer...
she is blonder than she ever was before.
It's hard to believe that she's my black sheep.

But under all of that blond and brown wool is a scrumptious black fleece.

It's also hard to believe that under that dirty...

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Moving Day

The sun rose yesterday behind a thick, grey blanket of clouds...
clouds that were still heavy with rain.
We had decided that in spite of continued rain...
yesterday was to be moving day.

We've been planning to re-arrange the housing for all of our birds
for weeks now.

We have fewer chickens than we used to, so it was time to move all of the chickens
into one yard... the biggest yard that has a chicken coop on each end.

We moved the few chickens that lived in "West World".
This coop is our western-most coop that was our original turkey house... 8 years ago...
and was home to just a handful of chickens.

Consolidating all of the chickens meant that we could now move the turkeys
back into their old coop, freeing up the coop closest to the barn
to use for the guineas.

Once the chickens were moved, we housecleaned "West World" and got it ready for the turkeys.
Then we housecleaned the coop closest to the barn and got it ready for the guineas.
This coop is without nesting boxes and has plenty of room for roosting.
Guineas tend to lay their eggs "wherever".

The chickens will remain in their yard for a week or so,
until they all realize that these two houses are their forever homes.

Moving the guineas was...

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What We Do When It Rains

Yesterday was the perfect day for staying indoors.
We received much needed rain...
which slowed everything down.

Some prefer to remain indoors...

Some could care less...
chalk it up to bird brains.

Some avoid it at all cost... except, of course, if food is involved!

Some don't even seem to notice.

You asked how often the horses get groomed.
Generally once a month they get a good "going-over".

This is mostly because they are pasture pets and not working.
If they were working, they would be groomed each time they worked.

But still, on occasion, everyone gets brushed...
manes and tails get combed and hooves get picked clean.

And how do they repay the kindness of a good grooming?

Well, by rolling in the dirt, or mud, or standing in the pouring rain...
to name just a few ways.

I will say, though...
they do enjoy the attention and are all very well behaved for this activity.

You asked about Red and Ollie's personalities.
Ollie is a spitfire most of the time.
He is sweet and lovable, and yet, at the same time,
 he is independent and a bit of a naughty boy... he is often a little cranky...
the result of being an orphan, I believe.

Red, on the other hand is usually sweet.
He does, however have a bit of an...

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This Is My Happy Place

Where is your happy place?
On the farm... with the animals (and of course, with Hubbs there as well!)

Yesterday morning Jack offered to do the work for me as I had mentioned 
that I wanted to finish a knitting project that had gone south.
I had knitted a mistake that I needed to correct and explained that I would need time alone
to fix it.

It was very kind of him... and he is always thoughtful like this...
but I explained to him that my time with the animals was the most important.
Knitting mistakes could wait.

I love morning chores.
I love taking care of everyone's needs.

I even love cleaning up manure!
I derive a great pleasure from making sure that everything is right in my world.

And so, we set about feeding, changing waters and picking up manure.
I am a little compulsive when it comes to cleaning up manure.
I'll let you in on a little secret.

I even clean up the sheep's manure.
I am pretty sure that most people don't pick up their sheep manure...
it is, after all very small and difficult to pick up.
We have learned that a dustpan and brush work quite nicely.

You see... sheep have this disgusting habit of pooping while they sleep...
so you will find piles of it around their...

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While I Was Gone...

I often get asked how I accomplish so much in one day.
I wish I had an easy answer for you.
I am by nature a "busy" person...and not one to sit much.

Hubbs and I are both very organized...
and now that Hubbs is retired, the work gets done in half the time,
as there are now two of us working together.

Yesterday I spent the day with Mackenzie and Easton...
leaving the farm at sun-up and not returning home until sundown.
I have to say...
working a day on the farm 
is much easier than keeping a 3 month old and a 2 year old for the entire day!!
We had a fun day... full of play,
but by the end of it I was beat!

While I was gone...

armed with lots of Ritz crackers,
Hubbs held down the farm.
(Amanda was home for the evening and took some photos for me.)

Our guinea babes are just about full grown.
They spend most of their days outside their house.

Apparently, once evening has arrived...
it is very scary to have to go back into a dark house...
and so the guineas stay outside....

unless we turn on a light for them...
which we do (every afternoon).

Then, by sundown, they happily return to their cozy little house
to roost for the night.
At bedtime, we turn off their night.
"Sleep tight, crazy birds!"

Guinea relocation...

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This and That

Yesterday was one of my favorite kinds of Autumn days...
slow and homey...
except for the fact that the day was hot and muggy (and buggy).
I am not sure what happened to our seasonal "cool"... but it seems to have left us.

Regardless, I pretended it was a chilly autumn day and dove into cooking.
It's a great season for local vegetables...
our local farm produce stand is overflowing with broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts,
and eggplant... of which I made broccoli salad, Cheesy cauliflower bake,
and fried eggplant.
We also used the last of this season's ugly apples and made this galette.
(Think free-form apple pie.)

Thanks to all of the effort put into gardening, orchards and berry patches, we eat very well here on the farm.
Our meat is all from local farms as well. 
And our vegetables are supplemented with local produce.

I realize that not everyone has the variety of local fare that we do,
but I highly encourage you to find out what you can buy from local growers.
After all, the closer to harvest that you can consume your produce,
the more nutrients that produce will contain.

Perhaps the best way to decrease your own grocery bills is to plant a garden.
A small garden, if planted well... can...

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Ahhhh.... October.
How I love October.
It's a transition month.
The days are getting shorter, the nights cooler...
but still there is a hint of summer still with us.

Autumn has begun to unpack his colorful wardrobe, and the brown fields
that held lush corn and soy all summer are now edged in purples, blues, and golds...
asters, chickory, and goldenrod in full bloom.

The trees are just beginning to turn...
although many have dropped brown leaves before turning colors.
It might be an unusual autumn this year.

It seems that everywhere you look are pumpkins of all shapes, sizes, and colors.

And yet, in the garden, Summer's colors continue to hold fast...
despite the two mornings of frost we had earlier this week.

I walk through the garden, lingering, at each colorful blossom...
taking in the vibrance and setting it firmly in my memory.

I look at each blossom as a gift...

the gift of tenacity...

each plant trying to hold on as long as possible, despite the unsavory 
conditions of drought and frost.

It's funny, but the most perfect rose of the summer has bloomed... now.

I am happy and humbled to be the recipient of such stalwart beauty.

This transition time of year is a gift because it gives us one last...

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Weird and Wonderful Nature

Last week while foraging for mushrooms,
I came upon something curious.
A tree limb was covered in tiny fluffy white creatures.
I assumed they were some type of egg with larvae hatching from them.
For some reason, I did not take a photo...
I suppose because I was more focussed on these...

and this...

Yesterday, my brother-in-law (Daisy's Daddy)
sent me a photo of the same branch that I had seen days before.
He also did some video... which I am excited to share with you.

Look at the tree....

Now, check this out!
(Make sure you watch until the very end.)

Isn't nature amazing?
Weird and wonderful!
And all you have to do....
is get out there and see it...
really see it!

Those insects are Wooly Aphids.
They secrete a waxy substance from their bodies that causes them to look like little puff balls.

Yesterday I showed you a basket of hot peppers destined for hot pepper relish.
They ranged from hot to very hottest.

The four on the right are (from left to right) two ghost peppers and two Carolina Reapers.

Last evening Amanda was home for the evening...
and she decided to try the Carolina Reaper.
She is our hot pepper queen.
We've never seen a hot sauce or pepper that she couldn't handle.
This time I think...

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Farm Life Is Always An Adventure

It doesn't take much to excite the troops.
"Who wants to go to work?" is all I have to say,
and everyone scrambles out the door.

At times there is competition for riding shotgun.
Cooperation is demanded and everyone is appeased.

These two... my companions whenever the gator motor is started.
These two just love an adventure... any adventure...
but insist on reliable transportation.

We are out and about on a garden mission.

We pick the day's ripe tomatoes and peppers.

Harvest is waning.
The garden is growing more and more barren.
Soon it will be time to tuck the garden boxes in for the winter,
beneath a blanket of homegrown compost.

After leaving the garden, we headed up to visit our senior center.

Yes, the goat pen has become the geriatric center of the farm...
with the queen of the elders...


As close as we can figure, Jill is about 16 years old.
She gave us many adorable kids in her day,
and now spends her days relaxing in the shade and grazing in the cool evening.

Months ago, we moved our three remaining Nigerian dwarf goats in with the fainters.
All three seem to enjoy the company of the others.
You might remember that Star had quite a large mammary tumor.
(This photo doesn't show her...

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Signs of Autumn

Autumn is here.

And although the temperature belies that fact right now...
there are other signs.

The Purple Beautyberry is spectacular.

The chicken pens are lined with heath asters. (And ragweed.)

As I gather eggs, I walk through the middle of these wildflowers...

and the sound of insects buzzing from blossom to blossom
is all I can hear.

Dry leaves are starting to accumulate on the ground...

causing that familiar "crunch-crunch" as I lead the pigs and sheep out to pasture.

No one has much energy when it is this hot out!

With cold weather right around the corner,
we took delivery on another load of hay.

One hundred bales needed stowing... and only Hubbs and I were there to do it.

I loaded each bale on the hay elevator,
sending it into the hayloft of the barn, where Hubbs neatly stacked it.

Thankfully we finished this task during the cool of morning.

Some consider themselves exempt from such chores!

Others watch in fascination.

As you can see, Fancy Nellie is taking one of her many baths for the day!

In case you were wondering how Sam is doing...

He is doing great!
He walks on all four legs now and only has a slight limp.
I am so glad we did not put him through an ACL reconstruction.
I honestly think...

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Cider Making

Summer has exited and Autumn snuck in almost silently.
We are still in the grips of summer weather...
warmer than it actually was most of the time this summer.
Funny how that happens!

We held our first annual Apple Harvest Day this weekend.
Four generations gathered to pick apples...

chop apples...

scrunch apples....

and finally, to press the juice out of the apples...

resulting in fresh, homegrown apple cider!

It was the most delicious cider I have ever had!

(Perhaps because I was intimately involved in the process from start to finish.)

It was definitely a lot of work...
and I am pretty sure that it is a little heavy on the work side of the
work/cider ratio.

Although everyone agreed that it was hard work...
we all agreed that we want to do it again on a yearly basis.

This was the perfect year for apples.
The frequent rains made for big, juicy fruit.
Many thanks to my kids for going together and gifting us the cider press last Christmas!
And many thanks to my family for making the day a blast!

In addition to fresh cider, a picnic in the pavilion was our reward
for all of our physical labor.

I have to say, though, the best part of any family day is the grands!

Earlier in the day, we watched Tyler play...

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Yesterday morning on my way out for chores,
I noticed that there was a young guinea outside the brooder house and attached yard.
To my knowledge, none of my guinea youngsters had escaped...
but yet, here he was... outside!!
(See grey shadow upper left side of photo)

He was running alongside the wire walls of the chicken yard...
obviously wanting to join the rest of his family.

These youngsters have become very adept flyers.
And as far as I can tell, this one must have flown up to one of the round
ventilation holes in the brooder house and hopped outside.

I suspect once he landed on the ground, he might have reconsidered this move.
"Now, what do I do?  It's kind of scary out here all alone!"

With a little help from Hubbs...
we surrounded the little guinea and caught him with a net...
and safely returned him to his family.

All's well that ends well!

By the time I reached the barn, the horses were getting a little impatient...
wanting to get out to the front pasture to graze.

With our world as buggy as it is right now (inundated with gnats)...
we had to put fly masks on first.

Apparently I was not moving fast enough for this little guy,
and he gave me a nip in the butt to hurry me along!

Can you...

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Superficially, there would seem to be a lot of "sameness" to each of our days
here on the farm.
I find the repetitive rhythm of farm life to be comforting.
I find that so much of what I love to share with you ends up being
a bit repetitive as well...
and I hope you don't mind.

A repetitive rhythm is never boring...
if you take the time to notice the tiny, amazing things that happen all around you.
When you quiet your thoughts and simply enjoy the moment...
you notice little things...
things that might have gone un-noticed.

So much of life is hustle-bustle...
and the little day to day miracles often get lost in the shuffle.
Perhaps that is one reason why there is so much unhappiness... 
perhaps we have lost our focus.

As for my temporary focus...
a bit of it was on this particular run-in shed...

and after...

Are you tired of seeing our painting projects yet?
Well, have no fear... we only have 5 more buildings left to paint!

Of course, the pigs were close by as I worked!

Amazingly, my nosey horses stayed away while I worked...

too tired to bother!

We added the finishing touch to the barn last evening...
every barn needs a star!

I have been noticing lately that one of the runner ducks is much...

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Painting Helpers

It seems that no matter what job we have to accomplish...
we always have plenty of volunteers to keep us company.

Yesterday we painted the donkey house and the turkey house.

As we worked, the pigs stayed close by in a cool corner of the pasture.

They grunted their greetings at us every few minutes.

I took a brief break from painting to climb the fence and sit in the grass
with Ginger and MaryAnn.
I love these girls!

Meanwhile, the donkeys were spending their day with the horses...

in the horses' dry lot.

Daphne and Chloe are way too curious to have in the same yard where we are painting.
I am sure they would not leave us alone
and would end up with paint all over their coats.

A few hours of painting...
and things are looking pretty spiffy!
Today we are tackling the run-in shed/pig house and the duck house by the pond.

When I finished painting, I took a moment to stop by the garden.

The sunflower heads are drying on the garden fence.
They will serve as bird food when it gets colder.

The sweet peppers needed picking...

Everything is still so beautiful...

not dry and burnt out like things normally are at summer's end.
We had plentiful rainfall all summer, making this the greenest autumn ever!

I planted...

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Midges, Figs, and Guinea Adventures

Yesterday... finally, after weeks of trying... Chloe acquiesced...
and agreed to wear her fly mask!

Daphne is the sensible one.
She believes in sensible shoes and fly masks.
She's rebellious.  
It's stillettos and no fly masks for her.

I am afraid that no one will be showing their handsome faces in the near future.

We have been inundated this past week with midges.
(you might know them as gnats, or no-see-ems)
Whatever you choose to call them...
they are annoying as heck to both man and beast.

I believe that Chloe has finally realized that the only way to keep midges out of
one's ears is to give in to the fly mask... at least for now.

We are having a week of hot weather,
so I am afraid that the tiny pests are here to stay... at least until cold weather.
I am currently looking for a fly mask that will fit me perfectly!!

Several years ago I planted two figs.

I took a chance as we are just a little far north for figs.
I babied the young plants, covering them with burlap each winter to protect from harsh weather.
I had planted them in an area that was protected from strong winds.
It seems that my care has paid off.
My bushes are filled with ripe figs... the first ever!

I am going to try drying...

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And Suddenly It Was Sunday Night!

I just blinked.... and the whole weekend flew by in an instant!
At least that's how it seems!
It's Sunday night and just a little earlier I realized that I had not taken any photos
 for this blog post.
This explains why the following photos look like they were taken at night.
They were!

We had guests on Sunday for a picnic... and in preparation,
each of the horses were groomed.
Hooves picked, not a hair out of place....
and then everyone decided to roll in the dust and shavings...
making themselves look worse than before we started.

Such mischievous horses!

Saturday morning we took delivery on a load of hay.
Yes, it's time to prepare for winter, and stock the barn with hay.

We have one more load yet to come and we should be in fine shape for a 
cold snowy winter.
Apparently the Farmer's Almanac has predicted that we will have a blustery, snowy winter this year.
We'll be ready!

One of the bales of hay broke open, so we used it for feeding this weekend.

I didn't even get a chance to unload the hay...
before 5 horses descended upon the wheelbarrow.

A hay feeder might be nice, except for the fact that the boys have a way of
accidentally, on purpose, excluding poor Scarlet!

That's it, girl, push your way...

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Changing Seasons

You asked what we will do with those hotter than hot peppers.
Absolutely.  Nothing. 
 Too hot for normal human consumption!
It was fun to grow them.  
We'll just have to leave it at that.

There is no doubt about it... fall is in the air!
I bought mums yesterday... soon, pumpkins.

Fall is my favorite time of year.
I love watching the subtle changes as they happen...

and then all of a sudden one day we look around and the whole world has changed...
greenery has turned to earthy tones of yellows, golds, oranges, rust, red and purple.

You've got to admit... it's almost magical how the world transforms
with the change of seasons.

It was such a good summer for the fruit and nut-bearing trees.
Our apple trees are loaded and the fruit is big and juicy.

The chestnut trees are also loaded this year.

This fact will most definitely please Ginger and MaryAnn...
whose favorite treat in all the world is chestnuts!
(even more than apples!)  

Those crazy muscovy ducks continue to make their morning sojourn to the barn.

They hang out with us while we work... snacking on the runner ducks' food and water.

Meanwhile, the shy runner ducks take off running...

and head for the woods.

As we move from the dry lot to the pig...

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Staying Out of The Food Chain

Keeping 100 + souls healthy and happy and safe from predators is a full time job...
and one we take quite seriously.

Protecting our precious friends has been a challenge and a learning experience.
We have secure housing for our animals and good fencing.

One of the most dangerous areas of the farm is the pond.
The pond is located at the edge of the woods.

Asside, from floating in the middle of the pond, 
there is no other safe area for the ducks that live there.
And, sadly, though they may be safe from land mammals,
the are "sitting ducks" for owls who hunt silently and stealthily at night.

For this reason, we have a light at the duck hut by the pond that shines 
during the night... in an effort to blind the owls... whose vision is better in the dark than the light.

Our woods are full of coyotes, coy-wolves (a coyote/wolf hybrid),
bobcats, hawks, owls, raccoons, mink, to name just a few.
Luckily, none of these (except the hawks) tend to hunt during the daylight hours.

Chickens are vary wary of what is in the sky,
and will take cover if they suspect that a predator is near.
Having chicken yards with wire roofing has helped to keep chickens relatively safe from hawks.

Having the chicken housing...

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It's about time.....

I started blogging again. I've really missed it. I've just been... hmmm... whats the word I'm looking for...
Yeah, that's it. *sigh*
Actually, I've missed YOU. I need to get caught up on all my blog friends and hope they remember me.
No point in trying to catch up on almost a years' worth of news from around the farm, so I'll just put some pictures on here.

Big Otis and his girls are on a mission to rid the world of every single June bug in existence. I'm not going to tell them that's pretty much an impossibility because watching them chase their prey across the yard at full speed is too hilarious.

The sheep are very happy to be rid of their winter sweaters. Oh, and Tiny says howdy.

It's been too hot to do anything outside for the past few weeks, so Lily and I have been spending the days inside in my sewing room. Oh, and Lily would say howdy if she wasn't so busy snoring.

Speaking of sewing, I embroidered this little t-shirt for my great-nephew, who will be turning two in November. He's heading to the beach with his mom and dad this week, so I thought the crab was appropriate. *grin*

Speaking of family, we were blessed to celebrate Father's Day a couple of weeks ago with four...

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Big Otis

All the hens are crazy 'bout that big orange rooster.
(Must be the eyebrows.....)

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And.... October.

*Tap tap tap*
Hello? Anyone still out there?

Thanks to those of you who have sent emails checking up on me and making sure everything was okay. I never meant to be away so long....
So much has happened since my last post; along with the usual "busyness" of summer, my aunt and uncle were involved in a very serious car accident in July. They have both recovered for the most part, but since they are in their late 70's, it was a long road for them. Hubby and I tried to help them out as much as we could, so along with taking care of their place and my Dad's yard as well as our own, summer came and went before we knew it.

In August, we had to have Daisy put down. Those of you who've read my blog for a long time will remember her story~ she was our very first sheep; a bottle lamb. One day I found her limping very badly on her back leg, not able to put any weight on it it all. I wasn't sure if it was a hoof problem, so I checked it out but didn't find anything. By the second or third day, it was clear she had either dislocated her hip or worse, it was broken. And by this time she was in so much discomfort, she had stopped eating. We had a vet come and look at her but she advised that any...

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Friday Farm Fotos: Spring chicks

It's just part of having chickens. They get old. And stop laying.
And die.
Of course, around here they always die of natural causes....
Once a hen's laying days are over on the Fraker Farm, they get put "out to pasture" so to speak. In other words, I turn them out every morning and let them spend their days roaming and foraging to their hearts content, and I figure if they become a meal for a predator at least they died happy, since most chickens think it's heaven to get to free-range at all, let alone all day long.
I usually don't keep more than 4 or 5 laying hens at a time anymore simply because I stopped selling (and giving away) eggs and the feed is too expensive to justify keeping more hens than we need to in order to have enough eggs for two people.
I bought four Red Star chicks a few years ago, after having only Rhode Island Reds as my primary layers for many years. I fell in love with these calm, beautiful girls right away. Even as chicks they were so sweet and curious... I could stick my hand down in their box and instead of freaking out like most breeds do, they would come to my hand and peck at my wedding band along with any mole or freckle they thought might need...

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Friday Farm Fotos: Plow, Plant, and Pray

Lily and Tiny share a moment at the fence.

I found a quote on the internet not too long ago in which the beautiful Audrey Hepburn once said,
 "To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow." 
I love that. 
I also know firsthand how frustrating it is to plant one day and then the weather make you lose all hope in your garden the very next day. 
Ugh. Thanks a lot, Mother Nature.

(Sorry, I'm a child of the 70's. :)

Hubby plowed our little garden spot in early March. 
Here he is at work with the sheep cheering him on in the barn behind him. 
Gotta have teamwork to make a garden.

The ground was so beautiful and dark.... thanks to some heavy doses of manure.

Hopes were high for our little garden this year! 
We planted onions, broccoli, and cabbage near the end of March.

Then it snowed.

Aaaand we had a frost. A hard one.

And our poor broccoli... eh, it didn't look so good.

The blossoms on my apple and pear trees didn't fare so well, either.
No fruit from them this year. *pout*

Hubby left the broccoli alone, and it actually came back to life after a few days of warm sunshine. 
Here he is working the rows with "Cubby".

I think everything will be alright after all this cold weather. Time will tell.
We put...

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Piggy Toes and Dirty Fleece

I wish that I could introduce each and every one of you
to Ginger and MaryAnn.

Of all the animals on the farm, these two are so very special.

Of course, they are all special in their own ways...
Ginger and MaryAnn are highly intelligent and highly social.

They absolutely love human interaction.

Here is a little video that I captured yesterday afternoon.

If you listen closely, you will notice a slightly different sound that they make
when they get close to me.
Their grunting turns into a sound like "ha, ha, ha" (not laughter)
You see, I have always said "Hi, hi, hi" to them and they seem to respond with something
as close to what I am saying as they can muster.

It's their way of showing that they are happy to see me.

They actually have quite a vocabulary of sounds that they use.
This one particular sound, however, they only use when greeting us.

On the other side of the fence are the sheep.
Since losing her mother, Hope has been a lot more friendly towards me.
Yesterday, while in the pig yard, I moved over and sat next to the fence beside Hope.
Reaching through the fence, I dug my fingers into her fleece and gave her a little scratching.

She didn't move, but sat very still.
I rubbed her ears...

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